Hainan Airlines spreading its wings across Latin America

Up Front

Despite struggles for its parent company HNA — which is selling off real estate and other parts of its empire in New York, Sydney, and Hong Kong at what observers are saying is the behest of the authorities in China —  Hainan Airlines is continuing its push into Latin America.

Last July HNA bought Odebrecht’s controlling stake in Rio de Janeiro’s R$4b ($1.25b) Galeão International Airport for $330m. That deal followed the 2016 $450m purchase of a 24% stake to become the largest shareholder in Brazil’s Azul airlines.

This week comes news that Hainan and HNA continues to be looking at Latin America as a priority, with two advances.

First, Hainan Airlines announced that on March 21st, it will begin thrice-weekly service between Beijing and Mexico City (with a stop in Tijuana). This first flight connecting the two countries’ capitals will complement existing flights operated by China Southern Airlines (Guangzhou-Mexico City) and Aeroméxico (Shanghai-Mexico City).

Not content with growing it’s business in Mexico, Hainan Airlines also announced that it is partnering with Israel’s Tal Aviation Group. Tal has represented El Al and Greece’s Aegean Airlines in Brazil since 2014. As well as helping out in Mexico, Tal will "administer Hainan’s interests" in Brazil, Colombia, and Panama. Any guesses as to which markets in Latin America Hainan is likely to send flights to next?

Top Stories

"América Latina no necesita un nuevo poder imperial": la dura advertencia de Estados Unidos sobre la creciente influencia de China en la región — BBC Mundo
Tillerson alerta de la expansión de China y Rusia en América Latina — El País
Tillerson alerta de "presencia creciente" de China y Rusia en Latinoamérica — El Universal
Tillerson extols 19th-century US foreign policy in Latin America. — Financial Times
La Doctrina Tillerson — El País
América Latina: ¿Manzana de discordia entre China y Estados Unidos? — Hoy
Gallagher in The Atlantic on China, Latin America and the U.S. —BU
China offers better model for LatAm — ECNS
China e EUA: competição crescente na América Latina — CEIRI
American Secretary of State Rex Tillerson ruffled feathers ahead of his tour of Latin America this week by saying - of China-Latin America relations: “Latin America doesn’t need a new imperial power only looking to benefit its own people”. Kevin Gallagher, China-LAC expert from Boston University, and our friend Christopher Sabatini, International Relations professors at Columbia University, argue that this battle over influence in Latin America surpasses economic interests and Tillerson’s remarks are only self-serving. In praising the Monroe Doctrine, the Secretary appeared antiquated and putting his best Trump foot forward. At the end of the day, says Gallagher: “neither China nor the USA can make the region prosperous.”

Brazil drops railway to the Pacific for China exports, citing costs —The Business Times
The long-struggling 5,000km railway project proposed to connect Brazil and Peru by Xi Jinping in 2014 has finally been put out of it’s misery Brazilian authorities. What was meant to speed up and cheapen exports to China was found by Jorge Arbache, International Secretary at the Brazilian Ministry of Planning, to be “extremely costly and the feasibility study […] unsatisfactory”.

Fiscal recibe a Rafael Correa por caso Petrochina — El Comercio
It’s a bad week for former Ecuadorian President Rafael Correa. After losing his chance to get elected again on Sunday, on Monday he was interrogated by prosecutor Fabián Salazar (albeit in a voluntary hearing) about the growing PetroChina-Ecuador contract case scandal.

Will a U.S. Absence Diminish the New TPP Agreement? — The Dialogue
The Dialogue asked a panel of experts their thoughts on the recently agreed Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership (CPTPP, or - you know - TPP) and its viability without the US. In almost complete unanimity, they stressed the increased growth, benefit, and cooperation that will derive from the treaty, covering about 15% of global trade and opening a nearly 500m person market. As a bonus, Canada and Mexico get a lifeboat ahead of NAFTA negotiations.

Chile, the Trans Pacific Partnership’s unlikely savior — The Global Americans
Our friends Anders Beal and Benjamin Gedan from the Wilson Center’s Latin American Program praise quiet Chile for stepping up, first by hosting a global summit in Viña del Mar for the remaining TPP members and then for creating dialogue around a new TPP at the APEC Summit in Vietnam. They like that Chile has been a “longtime free market champion”, but we really like its new leadership role.


Qingdao-China planea invertir más de $5 mil millones en Panamá — La Estrella de Panamá
During a meeting with Panamanian officials, representatives and investors from Qingdao — the world’s 8th largest port — said they plan to invest upwards of $5b (yes, billion) over a 5-year period in the Latin American country. The investment would be directed towards tourism, infrastructure, and wood exports.

Xi Jinping vows to boost ties with Uruguay after US warning to Latin America — South China Morning Post
China carga contra EE.UU. y defiende su papel en la región — La Nación
Chinese President Xi Jinping got in some subtle digs in response to Tillerson’s statements in a message on the occasion of thirty years of diplomatic relationships between China and Uruguay.

China y América Latina, una asociación ganar-ganar — La Estrella de Panamá
An Op-ed from La Estrella sees China-Latin America relations as a win win: complementary economies, similar goals, and sincere desire to cooperate have resulted in concrete economic implementation and successful political strategies. Panama gets a shout out for being the “bridge and point of connection between China and the rest of Latin America”.

Representantes de China y Panamá realizan reunión técnica para definir proyecto ferroviario — Xinhua
Representatives of China, Panama meet over proposed rail project — Xinhua
Panama and China are moving fast. Only 8 months after establishing diplomatic relations, Panamanian representatives met with China Railway Design Corporation to discuss technicalities surrounding the proposed 450km long Panamá-David railway, as part of the Belt and Road project.

China acelera plano de expansão no Brasil e na América Latina — Exército Brasileiro
China acelera plano de expansão no Brasil e na América Latina — Portos e Navios
Governo quer maior diversificação de investimentos da China no Brasil, diz secretário — Extra
O apetite chinês por negócios no Brasil — Veja
Brasil é instigado a investir na Ásia — Blasting News
The Brazilian military is paying attention to China - reprinting articles about Chinese investment. China, which has invested $50b in Brazil, one quarter of its total investments in Latin America, but wants to go beyond just food products: it has recently made a deal with an electric bus company. Fortunately, Brazil seems to want the same: planning secretary Arbache has said Brazil seeks more diverse and greenfield investments from China.

“China espera los primeros envíos de langostinos peruanos” — El Peruano
Perú acrecienta sus lazos con China — Marco Trade News
Perú el segundo proveedor de arándanos a mercado chino — Debate
Perú exportó a China 4.000 toneladas de arándanos — CrónicaViva
Exportación de arándanos creció en 50% durante el 2017 — La Republica
In an interview,  Diana Pita, commercial advisor of Peru in Beijing, boasted the country’s relationship with China (23% of their exports go there) and their continued cooperation, which has recently resulted in China importing Peruvian shrimp — estimated to reach $200 million. Peru has also just become the second largest exporter of blueberries to China, after Chile.

Chinesa CEE quer expandir negócios no Brasil e prevê fábrica — Exame
Privately-owned Chinese company CEE Power is eyeing Brazil, following a recent series of energy deals by Chinese firms such as State Grid, China Three Gorges, State Power Investment Corp, and Shanghai Electric in the country. Active in recent auctions, CEE Commercial Director for Brazil Marcio Coelho argues they’re better than their larger compatriots:

“While we are Chinese, we are a private company in China, and we’re smaller than a State Grid… our steps are more cautious, as projects have to have a financial return."

China Railway to build cancer treatment facility in T&T — Daily Express
China Railway Construction Company will build an $84M cancer treatment facility in Trinidad and Tobago.

Interesa a China el mercado de productos de México, aunque descarta invertir a corto plaz — Vanguardia
Mexican Secretary of Economic Development, Jamie Guerra Pérez, says China is not looking for short term investments in Mexico but has faith that Coahuila, and its proximity to the US and automotive industry, will bring in medium-term investments.

Liang Yu: ‘Bolivia es un socio confiable para China’ — La Razón
Yang Li, Chinese ambassador to Bolivia, says there needs to be more coordination between the nations in order to increase efficiency, and cooperation, in the future. Bolivia may not be a Latin American giant, but China has made strides in its relationship by becoming its largest importer, largest financier, and second largest trading partner.

Empresa China acusa a Leonardo Farkas por presunta estafa — CNN
Chinese firm Qisheng Resources Limited (QRL) has announced it will take legal action against Chilean philanthropist Leonardo Farkas for alleged fraud. The issue stems from 2010, when QRL accused the Santa Fe minery, controlled by Farkas, for breaking a contract.

Perú y China dialogan sobre marcha judicial — Expreso
Duberlí Rodriguez, President of the Peruvian Supreme Court, received a visit from Jiang Bixin, President of China’s Supreme People’s Court, where the latter donated over 4,000 computers.

China mantiene liderazgo como principal proveedor del Perú — El Comercio
AGENCIA ANDINA: China es el principal proveedor de bienes de Perú por cuarto año consecutivo — Marco Trade News
Peru’s imports have been dominated by Chinese products for the past four years, seeing a 7.5% increase in the last year totaling 20% — with tech products leading the pack.

Preocupan elecciones al banco chino mexicano — El Milenio
Industrial and Commercial Bank of China (ICBC) Mexico, is getting worried about the results of the upcoming July presidential election, and how that will affect intergovernmental politics and the Bank’s place in the economy.

COMEXI, The Dialogue & HSBC present: China and the New Global Order — COMEXI
The Inter-American Dialogue, COMEXi, and HSBC hosted an event to explore China’s recent policies towards the Latin American continent and, in particular, its relationship with Mexico, where our friend Daniel Erickson was able to provide trenchant insights.


Qualcomm e coreana anunciam investimento de US$ 200 mi em fábrica de chips no Brasil — Folha Pe
Is Brazil in play to become a tech hub? Qualcomm and, ASE subsidiary, ASI have just announced a joint venture to build a semiconductor factory in Campinas, investing $200M over 5 years. The goal is to simplify its manufacture, and create one capable of retaining the potency of a much larger semiconductor.

Corea del Sur busca acuerdo con México —El Universal
South Korean ambassador to Mexico, Kim Sang-Il, pushes for his country to become an associated member of the Pacific Alliance.

Excomandante de las Fuerza Armadas  nuevo embajador de Colombia en Corea del Sur — El Colombiano
Colombia has appointed Juan Pablo Rodriguez, an ex commander of the Armed Forces, as the new ambassador of Colombia in South Korea.


Pemex Refining Head Looks to Mitsui-Led Deal to Help Struggling Business — Bloomberg
The new $2.6b coking plant venture with Mitsui should be a shot in the arm for Pemex. The partnership should help increase Pemex’  production by 40 percent, reducing the nation’s recent reliance on imported oil.

Guanajato impulsa proveedora en Japón — El Economista
Seeking to strengthen ties, Mexican state Guanajuato’s foreign commerce promotion agency (Cofoce) was welcomed at the International Automotive World Fair in Tokyo, alongside 6 local companies.

Aerolíneas conectarán a Bogotá y San Salvador con Japón via México — Pulso
Avianca and All Nippon Airways have agreed to expand its shared flight network to include flights connecting Japan with Colombia and El Salvador, through Mexico City. Seems that Mexico will surely be benefitting from additional flights connecting the regions.

Fortalecen relaciones Cuernavaca y Japón — Diario de Morelos
Executives from the Japanese Mexico Association met with Cuernavaca Mayor Cuauhtémoc Blanco Bravo. In May Cuernavaca will host the next Mexican National Nikkei Convention.


India, Chile for Strengthening Coop in Trade, Commerce, Renewable Energy, Space & Def Sectors — Uniindia
Chile seems to be in high demand, as Indian Vice President Venkaiah Naidu expresses hope over the implementation of the Expanded India-Chile Preferential Trade Agreement (PTA) while welcoming a delegation led by the president of Chile’s lower house, Fidel Espinoza. The delegation was received in New Delhi to welcome Chile as a member of the International Solar Alliance.

ASEAN & Oceania-LAC

Maersk Line ofrece nuevas conexiones directas con Asia a Colombia, El Caribe y puerto Pecem en Brasil — Mundo Marítimo
Porto do Pecém será o único do Brasil em nova linha da Maersk Line para a Ásia — O Povo
Maersk Line, global container giant, announced its new Asia-Latin America service will start in April. The line will make stops in Colombia, Panama, the Caribbean, and the Brazilian port of Pecem, the latter which will now have a  direct line to Singapore. Clients will benefit from more “direct services, better transit time with the Far East, and larger port coverage”, says Lars Nielsen, President of Maersk Line in LatAm.

México debe fortalecer comercio con Asia: académicos — Excelsior
Reunión con Embajadas de ASEAN — COMCE
Mexico’s relationship with Asia has strengthened in recent years, but academics from UNAM say there needs to be an improvement in the realm of commercial business and foreign investment with Asia, especially Korea, Japan, and China, with emphasis on diversifying trade and establishing free trade agreements with the region. The Consejo Empresarial Mexicano de Comercio Exterior, Invérsion y Tecnologia (COMCE) hosted ASEAN Ambassadors to push the issue.


Dubai Exports Builds on Brazil Ties to Boost Trade and Economy — Albawaba
Dubai’s export promotion agency recently visited Brazil in an effort to increase bilateral ties and engagement.

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